Mental Health Ambassador Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation's 2nd Anniversary

Whilst relatively new to Orpington Road Runners, 6 months now, the Mental Health Charter is now well established and growing all the time with now 270 signatories including England Athletics. The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation came from a shared desire across the sport and recreation sector to build on existing work and take even more action around mental health at both grassroots and elite levels. The Charter uses the power of sport and recreation to promote mental wellbeing through physical activity. It was launched in March 2015 with then Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP.
England Athletics and Mind are seen as the key drivers and essentially showing the others how it's done with the successful Mental Health Ambassador programme. Orpington Road Runners #runandtalk nights may play a small part but it's a vital part of much bigger picture.
Wednesday afternoon was a celebratory occasion for the Charter with approx 80 people in attendance held at the London Aquatic Centre. It was a vibrant atmosphere with an array of people from CEOs to the elite ambassadors; Clarke Carlisle, Ollie Phillips and Mitchell Mann, and I was there to represent the grassroots ambassadors on behalf of all England Athletic's Mental Health Ambassadors.
It was an amazing honour to have been invited and to talk. Although I was a tad nervous going on after Clarke and Ollie, and a little stumble at the start, I managed to compose myself and apparently smashed it. Thank goodness, ironically I'm not exactly one for shouting about my achievements or successes. The feedback was as fantastic as our very first #runandtalk session with lots of 'well done' and appreciation shown for the sincerity and honesty of how I came across. Paul Farmer CEO of Mind, England Athletics and Emma Boggins, CEO of Sport and Recreation Alliance all commented on how they enjoyed my talk and how much of a great balance it was from the elites.
I just want to say a massive thank you to the club for being so supportive and being part of such a positive programme that really is gaining momentum, going from strength to strength. I know so many go through struggles of varying degrees. It's a massive comfort to know how much of a pillar of support we all are to each other.
I'll use this opportunity to show you visually an analogy a councillor once described to me the pillars of support we have around us. During the dark times we often forget our pillars but day by day these grow, sometimes some fall by the wayside as is the nature of life, but the pillars that remain are there to support us every step of the way from friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, clubs. Orpington Road Runners has proven to be one of the pillars that will remain strong.

For those that have read this far (thank you :)) if you scroll to 1hr 26min you can hear Emma Boggis, CEO of Sport & Recreation Alliance, talk about mental health awareness and England Athletics #runandtalk programme.

Cat Woods
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Cat Woods
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Created with images by RVWithTito - "2010 Skagit Valley Tulip Run" • Unsplash - "men trail running trail" • holdosi - "girl at night running" • gregralich - "RUN!" Cat Woods, founder of 12in12.run Orpington Road Runners England Athletics Sport & Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter MIND

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